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Stewed Cabbage

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A delicious vegan recipe for stewed cabbage, the simplest way of cooking cabbage.




Romanian Stewed Cabbage


Simple Stewed Cabbage – Varza Calita is a typical vegan or fasting dish eaten in Romania all through the year.

When it comes to this dish, I really don’t understand my children. This simple cabbage recipe used to be one of my favorite dishes as a child, a pot full of vegetables that I could just not get enough of.

I was not a big eater as a small child and like all kids I was not particularly fond of vegetable stews, but my grandmother could always be sure that I would eat well every time she cooked anything including cabbage. I just loved it and I still love it nowadays, it is definitely one of my favorite veggies.

Well, not my kids, only the word cabbage puts them in a defensive mode…

Well, I won’t give up, someday… if I just cook it often enough (and I do) they will learn to appreciate it. Like my husband maybe, this is definitely not something his mother ever cooked but the cabbage stew has become one of his favorite ways of eating cabbage as well, so there is still hope! 🙂 🙂


Romanian Stewed Cabbage



Every Romanian person out there knows this dish in and out, I am sure of that, it is one of those staples of Romanian cooking. I never got the recipe from my grandmother because this is so easy, I used to think that there is nothing wrong you could do with it.

And there isn’t really, the recipe is not an exact science, but it did take me quite a few tries to get exactly the taste and consistency I was used to from my grandma’s house. Not only her cabbage tasted so sweet and comforting, it was that softness and the caramelization that I missed, the slightly burned pieces of cabbage at the bottom of the pot, which are giving the dish a whole new dimension.

But I did manage to get it right in the end!


Chop the cabbage before you start cooking, it takes a few minutes and you don’t want to stress yourself that the onions might get too dark before you are finished with chopping the cabbage.

When adding the cabbage to the pot, do that in 2 or 3 batches, the cabbage needs a lot of place at the beginning.

Add the next batch of cabbage when the previous one has wilted making more room for the remaining cabbage.

Stir often during the cabbage frying process.

Add only the recommended amount of water. It might seem too little, but it is fine. The cabbage will release some liquid as well.

The cabbage should stew in its own liquid and it will not be too bad if it catches slightly at the bottom of the pot (but only slightly). That makes the stewed cabbage even sweeter and tastier.

Stir a few times in between, but do it quickly and cover again immediately to prevent loosing too much steam from the pot.

The red wine vinegar gives the stewed cabbage a fruitier taste.


Definitely, it will taste even better the next day. You can make a large pot of stewed cabbage and reheat it again and again over several days.

Keep refrigerated.


Romanian Stewed Cabbage



  • We always have stewed cabbage as a main dish with white bread or polenta (in Romania).
  • In Germany, many people would serve stewed cabbage with boiled potatoes.
  • If you wish, you can serve the cabbage as a side dish for pork, beef, chicken, roast duck or goose.


And just as a proof of how much I love cabbage and how often I cook it, you might want to have a look at some of the following recipes. First of all, one of my most cooked German cabbage recipes German Red Cabbage Recipe with Apple – Braised Cabbage Side Dish from Masala Herb.

And how about a traditional Polish recipe: Sauerkraut Stew with Pork and Sausages – Polish Bigoz Recipe. And other meaty cabbage dishes would be this German Savoy Cabbage Soup with Ground Meat and Potatoes or this Pork, Rice and Cabbage Stew – Gipsy Recipe Sah Has Mai. 

Or here are some more vegetarian cabbage dishes: Easy Cabbage Noodles with Sour Cream and Dill or Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls with Millet, Tomatoes and Feta.




recipe for stewed cabbage

Stewed Cabbage

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

A delicious vegan recipe for stewed cabbage, the simplest way of cooking cabbage.


  • 1 white cabbage, about 1,5 kg/ 3.3 lbs
  • 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 heaped tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried savory
  • 1-2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, to taste
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • fine sea salt and black pepper


  1. Quarter the cabbage and remove the core. Chop the cabbage into small pieces, they don't have to be extremely fine. Set aside. Finely chop the onion. Chop the pepper, carrot, and tomato.
  2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven. Cook the onions until translucent. Add the pepper and the carrot and continue cooking for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato, tomato paste, sweet paprika, and sugar and stir for about 2 minutes.
  3. Start adding the cabbage, as much as it fits in the pot (2-3 batches, depending on the size of the pot). Add the dried savory as well. Stir well to coat with the rest of the ingredients and let cook for a few minutes until the cabbage wilts down a bit.
  4. Add the rest of the cabbage, stir again and add just a little water, about 50 ml/ scant ¼ cup. Stir again, cover very tightly and cook on medium-low heat for about 30 minutes or until the cabbage is very tender.
  5. Stir a few times in between, but do it quickly and cover again immediately to prevent losing too much steam from the pot. The cabbage should stew in its own liquid and it will not be too bad if it catches slightly at the bottom of the pot (but only slightly). That makes the stewed cabbage even sweeter and tastier.
  6. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar for a fruitier taste. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve.
  7. The dish can be easily reheated.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1/6 of the dish
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 168Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 228mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 6gSugar: 11gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

Tuesday 14th of March 2017

What a wonderful way to prepare cabbage, I've no doubt I would really enjoy this! My 4 year old daughter would love this too (she even loves sauerkraut!) but my 6 year old son - forget it. It would be torture trying to get him to eat cabbage! I'm hoping one day he'll see the light and I just keep trying too :)


Thursday 9th of March 2017

Hey dear...Thanks for sharing this Traditional Romanian Dish...This dish looks pretty similar to our Indian Cuisine except one or two ingredients..


Thursday 9th of March 2017

Hi Adina! What a great dish! Don't give up on your kids trying it. Keep re-introducing it ever so often. I do this with my kids and certain dishes that they didn't eat before, they eat now. :-)

I LOVE THE NEW DESIGN! It feels light and airy and your photos really stand out. Glad to see that you're posting again. :-)

Denise Browning

Wednesday 8th of March 2017

Love flavorful vegetarian dishes. This looks simply fantastic! -- and its is low carb. ;) Congrats on the new blog design. So beautiful!


Wednesday 8th of March 2017

Adina, it looks fabulous. I can understand why you thought it was easy.... this is what I'm thinking now but I know that such recipes are very tricky and easy to spoil by an unexperienced cook. I'm still very tempted to try it!

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